220 Leo Ave., Suite B, San Jose, CA 95112 - Tel: (408) 786-5875/608-5632

220 Leo Ave., Suite # B
San Jose, CA 95112
San Jose, Dec. 30-2007

A Dialogue with Councilmember Nguyen -
Let's Help Each Other to Understand

To Councilmember Madison Nguyen,

My Phuong Le, Full-time Ph.D. Student, Stanford University

After the community general meeting on Dec. 9th, 2007, I heard your comment on KLIV radio station, “I don’t know why/how they [the community] invited people outside of San Jose to attend the meeting, after all, it’s a San Jose issue.”

I will try to answer your question below, but first I would like for you to please answer a question for me. This is in relation to the statement you made on KQED that “I don't have the time, the energy, the effort to call every single one of my constituents of district 7 to inform them [about the June 5th meeting]” in response to Barry Do's statement that no one within the community knew about the meeting in which the council first approved of the project with the name of Vietnamese Business District. You appear to be trying to make it seem to the mainstream that it is very difficult for you to get word out to your Vietnamese constituents, but the truth is that there are, for example, at least three 24-hour radio stations in San Jose (1120AM, 1430AM, 1500AM) who would be very eager to read any of your annoucements, especially news of this magnitude -- as you know very well, having used them yourself to make announcements that you DID want your constituents to hear. I am sure you are very much aware of the magnitude of the community's interest in this issue, as this was one of the major promises you made to the Vietnamese community during your campaign in 2005 to replace Councilmember Gregory, which gained you your present City Council seat.

A single announcement requested by you of any of these radio stations -- no need for you to make phone calls to every single one of your constituents! -- on this issue would have no doubt filled the Council chamber that night, June 5, 2007. This would have been a chance for you to proudly show the City Council how much support you have from the community for this project, as well as a chance for you to show the community that you have made this promise a reality. Seems like a win-win situation for you!

However, for some unknown reason, you chose to keep this quiet and hidden. Besides the owner of the Vietnam Town mall, there were only two other Vietnamese-Americans present at that City Council meeting, one who told me personally that he was called and asked to show up only a few hours before the meeting and was quite surprised to find only two other Vietnamese-Americans there. If you need to refresh your memory, you can watch the video of this meeting in San Jose's on-line city meeting archives to confirm that this was the case (www.sanjoseca.gov)

The question remains: Why did you not publicize your accomplishment, the City Council vote to approve your Business District project at the June 5 City Council meeting? The Vietnamese community here in San Jose would very much appreciate it if you could please answer that question, and please answer it with reason and truth, instead of evading the question with misleading, irrelevant arguments as you do with the mainstream American public.

Back the question you posed on KLIV, I must commend you on one thing, at least you are telling the truth THIS time. Yes, there were some attendees who are from outside the precise boundaries of the City of San Jose. I have the fortune of knowing a few of them: a nurse from Los Gatos, an engineer from Milpitas. Since you seem to not understand why, and you probably will never understand why due to your lack of outreach to the Vietnamese community, I must take this opportunity to answer your question. Why do I say "your lack of outreach" to the Vietnamese community on this issue? You probably still remember that you chose to attend a wedding anniversary of a president of a friendship-association (your main supporter for the New Saigon name, and later your supporter for Saigon Business District) rather than showing up for a few minutes to listen to more than 300 of your constituents at a community meeting on the Vietnamese business district issue on September 23-2007.

The reason you yourself know these individuals are from "outside of San Jose" is because you recognize them as your supporters who you worked with during your campaign for City Council to replace Terry Gregory in 2005. They are the people who attended your fundraising dinners. They are the people who worked on your campaign, calling district 7 voters for you, walking door-to-door for you, putting up campaign signs for you. Why did you welcome help with your campaign from people outside of San Jose, why didn't you shoo them away then with your “this is a San Jose issue” argument?

Why did these people choose to attend the Dec. 9-2007 community meeting ? Very simple, to RIGHT a WRONG !!! Like many of us in the community, they admit now that they made a serious mistake in supporting you, in putting you in office. They didn’t know back then, that once you got there, you would only serve small special interest groups, like real estate developers, and not your constituents as an elected official should. Your constituents don't want another Gregory. Need I remind you of the scandal generated by your appointments to the Board of Directors of the Vietnamese American Community Center, which caused a major uproar and protest within San Jose's Vietnamese-American community?

Why did these people choose to attend the Dec. 9-2007 community meeting ? You invited them !!! When you went on Vietnam Television on Nov. 21-2007 to insult the attendees of the Nov. 20-2007 council meeting as a bunch of jobless individuals, people with nothing better to do than to attend a City Council meeting, you forgot to add that “I am only insulting San Jose residents”! If you had said that, these individuals probably would not have felt as much pain and would not have been as likely to show up at the Dec. 9 meeting.

In contradiction to your continued attempts to characterize your constituents and former supporters as a divided community to the mainstream media, we are united, not just in San Jose, but everywhere in California, and in the U.S. in this fight to clean up the San Jose City Council and restore democracy to the city of San Jose.

I hope this answers your question.

My Phuong Le, Full-time Ph.D. Student, Stanford University
email: myphuong_le@yahoo.com

cc: San Jose City Council and local Vietnamese and American media.

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